Fans of Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series may be interested in this one as Stein imagines Adele Stackhouse's (Sookie's grandmother) affair wFans of Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series may be interested in this one as Stein imagines Adele Stackhouse's (Sookie's grandmother) affair with Fintan, a fairy, written as extracts of Adele's long-lost diary from that time period.
I found Fintan awkward and strange. I understood why Adele would embark on such an affair - for the prospect of a child in her depressingly childless marriage - but Fintan's motivation is unclear other than easy sex with none of the responsibility for the results. It's been awhile since I've read Harris's books so I can't quite remember Fintan's point of view on this, whether he saw it as altruism or pure lust.
Surprisingly Miss Marple isn't the protagonist, instead it's a self-deprecating vicar with a dry sense of humour in his middle years who married in haSurprisingly Miss Marple isn't the protagonist, instead it's a self-deprecating vicar with a dry sense of humour in his middle years who married in haste to his young wife and is repenting at leisure. He proposed to her after knowing her a day. A day! He's so humble he claims his own sermons are dull.
'The sneeze was not a usual kind of sneeze. It was, I presume, a special murderer's sneeze.'
As for the mystery, well, I wasn't fooled by the red herrings so whenever they came up I wanted to do the audio version of skimming by pressing fast-forward because lingering on the irrelevant was frustrating, so my attention occasionally wandered.
It's clear Ms. Christie is a fan of Sherlock Holmes. He's mentioned a few times. She also made some unfortunate word choices. Richard E. Grant said 'He ejaculated'. Wait, what? I paused and rewound, and yep, he said it. As a synonym for 'he said'.
Miss Marple is an arrogant, condescending, know-it-all. How she knows everything that happens in her small community is no mystery.
She's a Peeping Tom. An eavesdropper. And possibly a stalker.
Her little old lady facade and stifling propriety are the only things preventing her neighbours from accusing her of such dastardly antics.
MI5, the NSA and GCHQ have nothing on her intel gathering abilities.
I loved Richard E. Grant's narration, his voices matched each character exactly. Unfortunately he's only narrated two other Marple books.
Overall, other than a few long-winded gossipy conversations and obvious red herrings this wasn't bad.
*Downloaded for free from Audiobooksync's summer event....more
Michael Sheen (Masters of Sex) did a brilliant job in voicing the title role of Oedipus in what I found to be an 'easier' to understand translation byMichael Sheen (Masters of Sex) did a brilliant job in voicing the title role of Oedipus in what I found to be an 'easier' to understand translation by Duncan Steen for the full cast audio.
I'm glad I've finally read the famous, fabulously sensational story of incest and patricide about the man who kills his father and marries his mother, after encountering Freud's derivative Oedipus Complex in psychology class a decade ago.
Sophocles showcases the limitations of prophecy in stating the destination without providing details of the journey, and therefore a way to avoid the outcome. Had Oedipus's father not been told of the prophecy, would Oedipus have still fulfilled it? Laius would never have ordered his son to be ripped from his mother and left to die on a hillside had he not not known of the prophecy; and Oedipus would've grown up knowing his parents whereupon the Westermarck effect would come into play. So, is the Delphic oracle at fault here? Should he take some modicum of responsibility for Oedipus's crimes by putting him on the path to committing them? Every cause has an effect and every effect, a cause.
Coincidence or fate? Again, if Oedipus hadn't been informed of the prophecy he wouldn't have met his real father on that crossroads, but as soon as he did, his fate was sealed.
I liked the symbolism of the action at the three-way crossroads. King Laius and his entourage tried to push Oedipus off the road which resulted in a skirmish to the death. Oedipus prevailed by killing all but one of his attackers who escaped. However, the deaths were reported as a robbery homicide - to save face, perhaps? Obviously the king wasn't well guarded if one man could slay him and all of his men. If Oedipus is right and the king's men instigated the incident, was killing them self-defence? Oedipus is presented as an honest and honorable king who takes great pride in his good character. I doubt he'd lower himself to robbery when outnumbered and afterwards feel no guilt over his 'youthful misdeed' when his latter guilt cripples him.
Free will only applies to the control of one's own actions and the ability to influence that of others'. Oedipus is unable to exert enough control over his life to make informed decisions when he'd been lied to about his identity so it's difficult to blame him for crimes he'd committed unwittingly. Rather than a heinous criminal, Oedipus is painted as a pitiable figure. Self-inflicted punishment is meted out instead of the judgement and execution of societal justice, because no can hurt you more than yourself. Self-condemnation, self-mutilation and self-banishment from his home is punishment enough.
Ignorance and an inability to look beyond the superficial is expressed as a disadvantage of the ability to see, while blindness confers insight into the truth of things with a painfully sharp clarity. Oedipus mocks Tiresias for his blindness, claiming it hinders his ability to see the truth. Tiresias hits back, mocking Oedipus with a statement representing the exact opposite. Yet Oedipus, upon realising the truth of his actions, dashes out his own eyes in anguished horror after witnessing the dead swinging body of his shamed wife and mother, his psychological pain seemingly blotting out the physical.
I completely understand why this is a beloved classic. I'm sure I could get more out of it with each listen or read. I have only one complaint: I didn't really understand the Chorus. On the audio, many people spoke those words in unison and I thought this obscured the pronunciation, however, I did seek out a free ebook edition online to re-read those parts and they still made little sense to me.
I've not read any of the classic versions before so certain elementsAn okay 1855 retelling of a classic that dates back to at least the 17th century.
I've not read any of the classic versions before so certain elements leapt out at me that did not appear in Disney's adaption.
Here, Cinderella's father is alive and blindly infatuated with his wife while he neglects his daughter.
'Yet the poor thing bore this ill treatment very meekly, and did not dare complain to her father, who thought so much of his wife that he would have scolded her.'
An explanation of Cinderella's name leads me to wonder if her real name is Isabella.
'...she used to sit in the chimney-corner amongst the cinders, which had caused the nickname Cinderella to be given her by the family...'
And also known to her stepmother as Cinder-wench.
'elastic glass slippers' - an oxymoron, if ever there was one. If I didn't know any better, Hewet is referring to plastic. Plastic was in development at this time; the first type patented a year after publication.
The patronizing paternalistic morality of the commentary when referring to the rules imposed on the temporary freedom she is granted by her Godmother, the Queen of the Faeries, is shudder-inducing:
'...an everlasting lesson to all the pretty little Cinderellas in the world to keep their word, and to act in good faith by such as befriend them.'
I didn't realise that Cinderella spends more than one night at the ball with the Prince, though it makes more sense, giving him time to become fixated on his wife-to-be. Then, expending time and resources on finding her when she leaves for good without giving him a name with which to find her.
'...she not only forgave them with all her heart, but wished for their affection... allowed her sisters to lodge in the palace, and gave them in marriage, that same day, to two lords belonging to the court.'
I'm not the type to forgive and forget, but as Cinderella was deprived of love and affection from these people, she's in a position to demand it now. She can force them to kiss her shoes if she wished. However, there's no mention of what becomes of her stepmother or her father. Perhaps their fate is less rosy. ...more
Despite He Ain't Lion's rocky and repetitive start, it delivers the funny in spades with inventive swearing and crazy canibalistic thoughts, and disheDespite He Ain't Lion's rocky and repetitive start, it delivers the funny in spades with inventive swearing and crazy canibalistic thoughts, and dishes up a sexy, but self-conscious, plus-sized main character who upon meeting and bedding the alpha male of a lion shifter pride, transforms from a human female into a fierce and hungry shapeshifting alpha lioness. And there are no premature I Love Yous with the Happy Ever After!
The men here certainly seemed to like a girl with some cushion for the pushin’. At least, that’s what their gazes told her. Hell, even some of the ladies were giving Maya the same lustful glances. But tonight was not the night for lovin’ with the female persuasion, though. Maybe another time… [...] She had big hips, big thighs, and big breasts, all of which added up to a big woman.
I enjoyed Maya's transformation difficulties. She has no idea what is happening to her.
Reaching the back section of the store, she stared at the plethora of beef before her. And it had to be beef. Because chicken, fish, and pork, just weren’t gonna cut it. Part of her balked at her sudden, insatiable craving for meat, but the other part, the stronger part that seemed to be prowling, dragging its nails inside her brain, told her to grab it all and eat it raw, bathe in the blood to feed her hunger. Okay, ew, just yuck. [...] Maya growled at anyone that got too close. Her food. All hers!
Even her cannibalistic thoughts are funny. She doesn't act on them so it's okay to laugh.
As the smell of raw meat tempted her, called to her, she could hear the heartbeat of every passing shopper. And they all looked so delicious , reminded that growly-prowly sensation in her mind, seemingly interested in several of the individuals perusing the produce section. Maya licked her lips and swallowed the pooling saliva in her mouth [...] “Carly, there’s something really, really wrong with me. Like, really.” She knew she hadn’t just woken up this morning, and decided, “Hey, let’s be a cannibal today. Yay!”
When Maya's finally clued into her situation she utters some inventive swearing at the man responsible.
“You are absolutely perfect, just the way you are.” “Heh. You ain’t lyin’.”
I'm grateful that there are no cheesy I Love Yous, just "everlasting love, someday… just not quite yet" which is far more realistic after what she thought would be one wonderfully energetic one-night stand to get over her unappreciative ex-boyfriend. An extra chapter at the end would've been nice to rub the ex's face in it with her sexy new mate. Am I the only one to like a bit of revenge in my romance?
Although I'd like to continue with the series, I'm holding off because the price for the next story is too high for the number of pages - 44 pages for £2! (I'd want at least 100 pages for that) - so I'll wait....more
Wilde's anthropomorphizing parables are beautifully written, emotionally moving and exquisitely poignant; praising the laudable virtues of the CatholiWilde's anthropomorphizing parables are beautifully written, emotionally moving and exquisitely poignant; praising the laudable virtues of the Catholic Church and warning of the shameful outcomes of the seven deadly sins. Themes of friendship and charity feature heavily with Christian overtones, which normally I find off-putting, but I didn't here. (I'm an athiest.) I think my favourite would have to be The Nightingale and the Rose. I'd definitely give this to children despite the unhappy endings.
The Happy Prince - Sins & Virtues: humility & charity
A formerly human prince is now a gold plated, jewel-encrusted statue watching over the city. His privileged human life didn't prepare him for the misery of the poor and unfortunate. Despite his nickname as the Happy Prince, he is sad and wishes to bring joy to those in need but is unable to as an inanimate object. A migrating swallow comes by on his way out of the city for his annual migration south to Egypt for the winter and is taken by the Prince's tears, feeling compelled to act out the statue's wishes by taking the Prince's decorative riches and delivering them to those in need. When the Prince is left blind and unadorned having given up his treasures for the greater good, the swallow vows to stay and become the Prince's faithful companion despite the deadly cold.
The Nightingale and the Rose - Sins & Virtues: lust & charity
A kind, charitable and beloved nightingale makes the ultimate sacrifice for what she thinks is love between a young man and a well-off young woman. If the man can produce a red rose out of season then the woman will dance with him. Only a heart's blood can create a red rose. The nightingale dies believing she has done a good deed, producing an everlasting legacy. The young lady lied and the rose is discarded without a second thought. What a waste.
The Selfish Giant - Sins & Virtues: greed & charity
A beautiful garden is the playground of children until a selfish giant shoos them out.
'The birds did not care to sing in it as there were no children, and the trees forgot to blossom.'
Spring visits everywhere but the garden, leaving it barren and in the throes of winter. Until a child enters the garden and birdsong and blooming, perfumed flowers return stunning the giant into realising the repercussions of what he's done, and again allows children to play and share in the joys of his garden.
The Devoted Friend - Sins & Virtues: pride, acedia, sloth & diligence
A Linnet tries to teach a self-important Water-rat about the reciprocity of relationships via a story about an unequal friendship between two friends with radically different beliefs in what what friendship means. Hans is hardworking but poor. He is generous to a fault and never asks for anything in return. The other, is the wealthy and selfish Miller. His one generous act towards his so-called friend is used as blackmail for further favours, favours that Hans cannot afford to fulfil but does anyway because he doesn't want to let the Miller down. The Miller takes advantage and believes he's the best friend a man could ever have; sitting in his large, warm house sitting on his butt with a full stomach while Hans is impoverished and hungry, working his fingers to the bone, struggling to survive the harsh winter.
"Why, if little Hans came up here, and saw our warm fire, and our good supper, and our great cask of red wine, he might get envious, and envy is a most terrible thing, and would spoil anyone's nature. I certainly will not allow Hans' nature to be spoiled."
The Miller stands by while he works Hans into his grave. And the moral entirely escapes the Water-rat.
The Remarkable Rocket - Sins & Virtues: pride & vainglory
A vain and an unjustly boastful rocket believes he is better than every other firework and rebuts any indication that he is not with more prideful boasting, and is met with a most undignified end still under the delusion that he is the best of the rest.
Man is lured into participating in a super-secret medical trial. Man is unknowingly cloned, pumped with viagra an"You want to film me fucking myself."
Man is lured into participating in a super-secret medical trial. Man is unknowingly cloned, pumped with viagra and anti-anxiety drugs to lower inhibitions, then locked in a room with his clone. What happens next? Bow-chica-wow-wow.
So, is this a form of extreme narcissism? An odd kind of masturbation?
This was no different than getting horny watching gay porn; it was an appreciation for the male form. In this case, mine. And what's wrong with a little bit of self-appreciation?
...who hadn't fantasized about having sex with themselves?
Er, me. Hadn't even crossed my mind. But then, I'm not male.
Flashes of teenaged me straining in autofellatio -inspired yoga, desperately trying to suck my own cock ran through my head.
As far as I know, it isn't possible for women to achieve the same.
"...wouldn't it be more exciting to do something totally unique and impossible without science? For anyone not a twin," he hastily added with no hint of shame.
Is twincest common? Apart from male-female twincest depicted by George R.R. Martin in his A Song of Ice and Fire series and a male-female (who were unknowingly born male-male) in the "Identity" episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (based on the true story of David Reimer), I've not encountered many examples.
Although, I do remember watching one of those weird sex documentaries that featured a pair of female twins that performed live sex shows. And in effort to find them, my Google search brought up this interesting and sort-of relevant Slate article The Sex Lives of Conjoined Twins, and their agony aunt page entitled Brotherly Love.
The clone itself, is not born but made, fully formed from SmartLiquid and is an exact physical and mental, self-aware duplicate including all past memories up to the point of cloning. And are recycled when no longer needed.
"The clones are able to be repurposed, regenerated, and reconfigured for future use . Your model, so to speak, lasts as long as you are here and then as soon as we're done going over your study they are stripped and reset to default, only to eventually be improved and changed into someone else later."
While not made from flesh and blood, the clones appear to be somehow psychologically or computer-programmed:
“So you’re made for sex. Are you permanently hard all the time?” “By default, yes. I can control my erection though to be soft if you wanted.”
For some reason, I had the image of android Data and Lieutenant Natasha Yar from the "The Naked Now" episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. She asks if he's "fully functional", he is, and he adds "I am programmed in multiple techniques. A broad variety of pleasuring."
"Inside of me is a guideline of sexual instructions that is guaranteed to make my partner orgasm, often several times in a single session. I match my training with your profile and adjust accordingly. Every session is a learning experience." "What about you? Can you get off?" "Of course. I'm just like you, only I can keep on going and going and going with no worry of a refractory period . Anything you tell me to do I do it. If you want cum I can have it for you on command. If you want me to blow you, I'm your man. Anything. You. Want."
On the possible future of human cloning:
"We're approaching the day when sex-clones become a real thing. That's not saying they aren't feasible today, but with enough time they will be advanced and cheap enough for everyone in the developed world with a desire to fuck a vat-grown-human to have the capability to do so and enjoy it. You can consider this market research."
Creating self-aware human clones with training or programming for the exclusive purpose of becoming sex workers is firmly in the realm of fantasy. Anything or anyone that is self-aware and is selfishly used, and possibly abused, as slaves, will have within them the ability to revolt and start an emancipation revolution, just as clone Somni-451 attempted to do Cloud Atlas.
Overall, the concept here is immensely fascinating. I expected a not-so-well-written, mildly titillating erotica, and while there were a few punctuation errors and word omissions, this didn't impact on my enjoyment of the premise nor the amusing writing style. Honestly, the sex is the least captivating aspect of this sci-fi short.
I'll leave you with a giggle-worthy quote:
Too much porn had skewed my judging of how big cocks were supposed to be. Sucking on this thing would be like taking a thick popsicle down your throat. It was daunting. I suddenly felt a strong sense of compassion and understanding for the women I had been with.